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Part I:: Mastering the Basics > Retouching and Compositing from 50,000 Feet

Chapter 1. Retouching and Compositing from 50,000 Feet

One of the most important and often overlooked developments of the computer age is the ability of Photoshop, and image editing tools like it, to subtly (or dramatically) alter the appearance of images we view. Today, we’re so accustomed to assuming that a startling image may have been “photoshopped” that we sometimes forget that sayings like “Seeing is believing!” once held a solid grain of truth. Photographs in supermarket tabloids of farmers wrestling with pig-sized grasshoppers and images of the Great Pyramid of Giza relocated slightly to create a better composition on the cover of National Geographic remind us that our eyes and brains are easily tricked.

Until recently, realistic image fakery required either a great deal of planning or monstrous expense. National Geographic, for example, employed a gazillion-dollar Scitex laser scanner to nudge two pyramids closer together into a vertical composition for its controversial February 1982 cover. Today, anyone with a $50 scanner and a copy of Photoshop can do the same thing, and probably do a better job of it—if they’ve read this book!


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